Two new art projects that will be displayed at the Port Hardy Hospital were revealed at a special ceremony in the sacred room at Eagle Ridge Manor.
A tile mosaic artwork representing wellness and a button blanket representing unity between First Nations and hospital staff were presented at the Jan.31 ceremony.
Both artworks will be put on display in the emergency room of the Port Hardy Hospital.
“Last year we got a wellness grant from First Nations Health Authority as part of their winter wellness program for a wellness day for elders,” said Carley Tickette Julien, a community care nurse with Gwa’sala-‘nakwaxda’xw Health and Family Services.
“I just asked what do you guys want to do with this money and they wanted to have a gathering and invite elders from Quatsino and Fort Rupert,” said Julien, adding “We did a tile project where all the elders painted something that means wellness to them.”
Julien said a local community member made the frame for the mosaic, and Walter Brown, an artist from Gwa’sala-‘nakwaxda’xw painted the frame. He also titled the mosaic A’ikakilat’si which means place of healing.
The button blanket was made by Nancy Wamiss, a Quatsino representative on the hospital’s Creating Welcoming Spaces Committee.
“The idea behind the committee was to create a more culturally safe, friendly, welcoming, and inviting place in not just in Port Hardy Hosptial but in the primary health care centre,” said Arlene Clair, who facilitates the committee.
“The hands in the middle symbolize the hands of care, of not only the hospital staff but the other healthcare professionals and administrative staff. The hands on the outside represent our First Nations communities and surrounding communities all of which use our healthcare services in Port Hardy,” explained Clair.
The blanket will be displayed in the hospital, under glass once a frame has been built for it, which will include a plaque describing the meaning behind the blanket.
“The blanket is meant to bring everyone together and establish a healthier and better relationship, bringing us together in a good way like today is a positive step towards our healing journey together,” said Clair.
“I’d like to thank Island Health for the space to host this and putting it up in the hospital and to Walter Brown for your incredible artwork and helping with today,” added Julien.
Brown sang a celebration song composed from the Gwa’sala-‘nakwaxda’xw First Nation to mark the occasion. “We will share it to express our gratitude for the gifts that will be displayed in our hospital,” said Brown.
The ceremony concluded with platters of food and drinks being enjoyed by the community members and the healthcare staff in attendance.